Her TV show was so popular in London and in her native Jamaica in the 1990s that she's been dubbed "the Oprah of the Caribbean."
But morning-show host Diana Wright says the most meaningful chapter of her life closed recently when she self-published a book about her only child's near-death saga, which began after a series of medical mistakes she says were committed by a South Florida hospital.
"Deadly Negligence" (Six Hearts, $17.96) chronicles Wright's difficult journey of fear, betrayal, hope, faith and, ultimately, joy when her daughter, PaviElle McLaughlin, was misdiagnosed with leukemia after being rushed to a Palm Beach County medical center with swollen glands.
In the five days McLaughlin, then 13, spent at the unnamed hospital, she was "thrown into a toxic world of poisonous medication cocktails" her mother insisted were causing dangerous allergic reactions, Wright wrote in the book. A gag order from a medical malpractice lawsuit that the family settled out of court, for an undisclosed sum, prohibits Wright from naming the hospital in the 264-page book.
"If someone is there as an advocate for their child, why are they not listening?" Wright still wonders today.
McLaughlin's body so swelled from its reaction to the medication that her mother said she was unrecognizable and on death's door. Her worst fears were soon realized when, in Wright's most harrowing hour, her daughter went into cardiac arrest. The medical staff saved her, but the incident left the girl with lasting brain damage.
She was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where doctors ruled out leukemia and finally zeroed in on the true source of McLaughlin's illness: an autoimmune disorder. She was in a coma for four months and spent the next five years in rehab, which she continues today.
"It's been a long six years," said Wright, 56, of suburban West Palm Beach, who put her talk show on hold throughout her daughter's illness.
Today, Wright is back on the air, broadcasting her talk show live online via Ustream at DianaWrightTV.webs.com every weekday, at 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.
McLaughlin, meanwhile, has made what her mother calls a miraculous recovery, regaining her ability to walk, talk and function normally. Though she still takes speech therapy and physical therapy for the lack of movement in her left hand, McLaughlin graduated from Boca Prep high school in June and is studying international business at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach. She eventually wants to study perfumery in France.
"So the miracles are continuing," Wright said. "Her self-confidence is building every single day."
Wright is happy to put the most difficult chapter of her life behind her. But she said she was encouraged to document her struggles and her daughter's accomplishments in a book after telling her story as a cautionary tale and a source of inspiration at her church.
"I wanted people to know that when you go to the hospital, you must be an advocate for whoever you have there," she said. "And if you have enough strength and trust in God, you can come out whole."
McLaughlin, now 19, said she is proud of her mother, and touched by all she did to fight for her interests all those months.
"It made me feel happy and protected and loved," McLaughlin said, adding of the book, "It's very informative."
"Deadly Negligence" is available on Amazon and DianaWrightTV.webs.com.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun